The Wisdom of Arthur W. Pink by Arthur W. Pink by Arthur W. Pink - Read Online

About

Summary

Arthur W. Pink was a minister and world traveler. During his life time he was a prolific author writing books on all aspects of Christianity. He was one of the most influential evangelical authors in the second half of the twentieth century. Collected her in this omnibus edition are The Holy Spirit, The Attributes of God. The Sovereignty of God.
Published: Start Publishing LLC on
ISBN: 9781627932608
List price: $1.99
Availability for The Wisdom of Arthur W. Pink
With a 30 day free trial you can read online for free
  1. This book can be read on up to 6 mobile devices.

Reviews

Book Preview

The Wisdom of Arthur W. Pink - Arthur W. Pink

You've reached the end of this preview. Sign up to read more!
Page 1 of 1

The Wisdom of Arthur W. Pink Volume I

By Arthur W. Pink

Start Publishing LLC

Copyright © 2012 by Start Publishing LLC

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever.

First Start Publishing eBook edition October 2012

Start Publishing is a registered trademark of Start Publishing LLC

Manufactured in the United States of America

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

ISBN 978-1-62793-260-8

Table of Contents

The Holy Spirit

The Attributes of God

The Sovereignty of God

The Holy Spirit

Table of Contents

The Holy Spirit

The Personality of the Holy Spirit

The Deity of the Holy Spirit

The Titles of the Holy Spirit

The Covenant-Offices of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit During the Old Testament Ages

The Holy Spirit and Christ

The Advent of the Spirit

The Work of the Spirit

The Holy Spirit Regenerating

The Spirit Quickening

The Spirit Enlightening

The Spirit Convicting

The Spirit Comforting

The Spirit Drawing

The Spirit Working Faith

The Spirit Uniting to Christ

The Spirit Indwelling

The Spirit Teaching

The Spirit Cleansing

The Spirit Leading

The Spirit Assuring

The Spirit Witnessing

The Spirit Sealing

The Spirit Assisting

The Spirit Interceding

The Spirit Transforming

The Spirit Preserving

The Spirit Confirming

The Spirit Fructifying

The Spirit Endowing

Honoring the Spirit

The Holy Spirit

In the past having given consideration to the attributes of God our Father, and then to a contemplation of some of the glories of God our Redeemer, it now seems fitting that these should be followed by this series on the Holy Spirit. The need for this is real and pressing, for ignorance of the Third Person of the Godhead is most dishonoring to Him, and highly injurious to ourselves. The late George Smeaton of Scotland began his excellent work upon the Holy Spirit by saying, Wherever Christianity has been a living power, the doctrine of the Holy Spirit has uniformly been regarded, equally with the Atonement and Justification by faith, as the article of a standing or falling church. The distinctive feature of Christianity as it addresses itself to man’s experience, is the work of the Spirit, which not only elevates it far above all philosophical speculation, but also above every other form of religion.

The Importance of Studying the Holy Spirit

Not at all too strong was the language of Samuel Chadwick when he said, The gift of the Spirit is the crowning mercy of God in Christ Jesus. It was for this all the rest was. The Incarnation and Crucifixion, the Resurrection and Ascension were all preparatory to Pentecost. Without the gift of the Holy Spirit all the rest would be useless. The great thing in Christianity is the gift of the Spirit. The essential, vital, central element in the life of the soul and the work of the Church is the Person of the Spirit (Joyful News, 1911).

The great importance of a reverent and prayerful study of this subject should be apparent to every real child of God. The repeated references made to the Spirit by Christ in His final discourse (John 14 to 16) at once intimates this. The particular work which has been committed to Him furnishes clear proof of it. There is no spiritual good communicated to anyone but by the Spirit; whatever God in His grace works in us, it is by the Spirit. The only sin for which there is no forgiveness is one committed against the Spirit. How necessary is it then that we should be well instructed in the Scripture doctrine concerning Him! The great abuse there has been in all ages under the pretense of His holy name, should prompt us to diligent study. Finally, the awful ignorance which now so widely prevails upon the Spirit’s office and operations, urges us to put forth our best efforts.

Yet important as is our subject, and prominent as is the place given to it in Holy Writ, it seems that it has always met with a considerable amount of neglect and perversion. Thomas Goodwin commenced his massive work on The Work of the Holy Spirit in Our Salvation (1660) by affirming, There is a general omission in the saints of God, in their not giving the Holy Spirit that glory that is due to His Person and for His great work of salvation in us, insomuch that we have in our hearts almost forgotten this Third Person. If that could be said in the midst of the balmy days of the Puritans, what language would be required to set forth the awful spiritual ignorance and impotency of this benighted 20th century!

In the Preface to his Lectures on The Person, Godhead, and Ministry of the Holy Spirit (1817), Robert Hawker wrote, I am the more prompted to this service, from contemplating the present awful day of the world. Surely the ‘last days’ and the ‘perilous times,’ so expressly spoken of by the Spirit, are come (1 Tim. 4:1). The flood gates of heresy are broken up, and are pouring forth their deadly poison in various streams through the land. In a more daring and open manner the denial of the Person, Godhead, and Ministry of the Holy Spirit is come forward and indicates the tempest to follow. In such a season it is needful to contend, and that, ‘earnestly, for the faith once delivered unto the saints.’ Now in a more awakened manner ought the people of God to remember the words of Jesus, and ‘to hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.’

So again, in 1880, George Smeaton wrote, We may safely affirm that the doctrine of the Spirit is almost entirely ignored. And let us add, Wherever little honor is done to the Spirit, there is grave cause to suspect the genuineness of any profession of Christianity. Against this, it may he replied, Such charges as the above no longer hold good. Would to God they did not, but they do. While it be true that during the past two generations much has been written and spoken on the person of the Spirit, yet, for the most part, it has been of a sadly inadequate and erroneous character. Much dross has been mingled with the gold. A fearful amount of unscriptural nonsense and fanaticism has marred the testimony. Furthermore, it cannot be denied that it is no longer generally recognized that supernatural agency is imperatively required in order for the redemptive work of Christ to be applied to sinners. Rather do actions show it is now widely held that if unregenerate souls are instructed in the letter of Scripture their own willpower is sufficient to enable them to decide for Christ.

The Problem: Effort in the Flesh

In the great majority of cases, professing Christians are too puffed up by a sense of what they suppose they are doing for God, to earnestly study what God has promised to do for and in His people. They are so occupied with their fleshly efforts to win souls for Christ that they feel not their own deep need of the Spirit’s anointing. The leaders of Christian (?) enterprise are so concerned in multiplying Christian workers that quantity, not quality, is the main consideration. How few today recognize that if the number of missionaries on the foreign field were increased twenty-fold the next year, that that, of itself, would not ensure the genuine salvation of one additional heathen? Even though every new missionary were sound in the faith and preached only the Truth, that would not add one iota of spiritual power to the missionary forces, without the Holy Spirit’s unction and blessing! The same principle holds good everywhere. If the orthodox seminaries and the much-advertised Bible institutes turned out 100 times more men than they are now doing, the churches would not be one bit better off than they are, unless God vouchsafed a fresh outpouring of His Spirit. In like manner, no Sunday School is strengthened by the mere multiplication of its teachers.

o my readers, face the solemn fact that the greatest lack of all in Christendom today is the absence of the Holy Spirit’s power and blessing. Review the activities of the past 30 years. Millions of dollars have been freely devoted to the support of professed Christian enterprises. Bible institutes and schools have turned out trained workers by the thousands. Bible conferences have sprung up on every side like mushrooms. Countless booklets and tracts have been printed and circulated. Time and labors have been given by an almost incalculable number of personal workers. And with what results? Has the standard of personal piety advanced? Are the churches less worldly? Are their members more Christ-like in their daily walk? Is there more godliness in the home? Are the children more obedient and respectful? Is the Sabbath Day being increasingly sanctified and kept holy? Has the standard of honesty in business been raised?

The Need

Those blest with any spiritual discernment can return but one answer to the above questions. In spite of all the huge sums of money that have been spent, in spite of all the labors which has been put forth, in spite of all the new workers that have been added to the old ones, the spirituality of Christendom is at a far lower ebb today than it was 30 years ago. Numbers of professing Christians have increased, fleshly activities have multiplied, but spiritual power has waned. Why? Because there is a grieved and quenched Spirit in our midst. While His blessing is withheld there can be no improvement. What is needed today is for the saints to get down on their faces before God, cry unto Him in the name of Christ to so work again, that what has grieved His Spirit may be put away, and the channel of blessing once more be opened.

Until the Holy Spirit is again given His rightful place in our hearts, thoughts, and activities, there can be no improvement. Until it be recognized that we are entirely dependent upon His operations for all spiritual blessing, the root of the trouble cannot be reached. Until it be recognized that it is ‘Not by might, (of trained workers), nor by power (of intellectual argument or persuasive appeal), but by MY SPIRIT,’ saith the Lord (Zech. 4:6), there will be no deliverance from that fleshly zeal which is not according to knowledge, and which is now paralyzing Christendom. Until the Holy Spirit is honored, sought, and counted upon, the present spiritual drought must continue. May it please our gracious God to give the writer messages and prepare the hearts of our readers to receive that which will be to His glory, the furtherance of His cause upon earth, and the good of His dear people. Brethren, pray for us.

The Personality of the Holy Spirit

If we were asked to state in a comprehensive form what constitutes (according to our views of Scripture) the blessedness of the Lord’s people on earth, after His work of grace is begun in their souls, we would not hesitate to say that it must be wholly made up of the personal knowledge of and communion with the glorious Trinity in their Persons in the Godhead—for as the church is chosen to be everlastingly holy and everlastingly happy, in uninterrupted communion with God in glory when this life is ended, the anticipation of it now by faith must form the purest source of all present joy. But this communion with God in the Trinity of His Persons cannot be enjoyed without a clear apprehension of Him. We must know under Divine teaching God in the Trinity of His Persons, and we must also know from the same source the special and personal acts of grace by which each glorious Person in the Godhead has condescended to make Himself known unto His people before we can be said to personally enjoy communion with each and all.

We offer no apology, then, for devoting a separate chapter to the consideration of the personality of the Holy Spirit, for unless we have a right conception of His glorious being, it is impossible that we should entertain right thoughts about Him, and therefore impossible for us to render to Him that homage, love, confidence, and submission, which are His due. To the Christian who is given to realize that he owes to the personal operations of the Spirit every Divine influence exercised upon him from the first moment of regeneration until the final consummation in glory, it cannot be a matter of little importance for him to aspire after the fullest apprehension of Him that his finite faculties are capable of—yea, he will consider no effort too great to obtain spiritual views of Him to whose Divine grace and power the effectual means of his salvation through Christ are to be ascribed. To those who are strangers to the operations of the blessed Spirit in the heart, the theme of this chapter is likely to be a matter of unconcern, and its details wearisome.

Figurative or Literal Personality

Some of our readers may be surprised to hear that there are men professing to be Christians who flatly deny the personality of the Spirit. We will not sully these pages by transcribing their blasphemies, but we will mention one detail to which appeal is made by the spiritual seducers, because some of our friends have possibly experienced a difficulty with it. In the second chapter of Acts the Holy Spirit was said to be poured out (v. 18) and shed abroad (v. 33). How could such terms be used of a Person? Very easily: that language is figurative, and not literal; literal it cannot be for that which is spiritual is incapable of being materially poured out. The figure is easily interpreted: as water poured out descends, so the Spirit has come from Heaven to earth; as a pouring rain is a heavy one, so the Spirit is freely given in the plentitude of His gifts.

Aspects of Personality

Having cleared up, we trust, what has given difficulty to some, the way is now open for us to set forth some of the positive evidence. Let us begin by pointing out that a person is an intelligent and voluntary entity, of whom personal properties may be truly predicated. A person is a living entity, endowed with understanding and will, being an intelligent and willing agent. Such is the Holy Spirit: all the elements which constitute personality are ascribed to and found in Him. "As the Father hath life in Himself, and the Son has life in Himself, so has the Holy Spirit: since He is the Author of natural and spiritual life to men, which He could not be unless He had life in Himself; and if He has life in Himself, He must subsist in Himself’ (John Gill).

1. Personal properties are predicated of the Spirit. He is endowed with understanding or wisdom, which is the first inseparable property of an intelligent agent: the Spirit searcheth all things, even the deep things of God (1 Cor. 2:10). Now to search is an act of understanding, and the Spirit is said to search because He knoweth (v. 11). He is endowed with will, which is the most eminently distinguishing property of a person: All these things worketh that one and selfsame Spirit, dividing unto every man as He will (1 Cor. 12:11)—how utterly meaningless would be such language were the Spirit only an influence or energy! He loves: I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit (Rom. 15:30)—how absurd would it be to speak of the love of the Spirit if the Spirit were nothing but an impersonal breath or abstract quality!

2. Passive personal properties are ascribed to the Holy Spirit: that is to say, He is the Object of such actions of men as none but a person can be. Ye agree together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord (Acts 5:9)—rightly did John Owen say, How can a quality, an accident, an emanation from God be tempted? None can possibly be so but he that hath an understanding to consider what is proposed unto him, and a will to determine upon the proposals made. In like manner, Ananias is said to, lie to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3)—none can lie unto any other but such a one as is capable of hearing and receiving a testimony. In Ephesians 4:30 we are bidden not to grieve the Holy Spirit—how senseless would it be to talk about grieving an abstraction, like the law of gravity. Hebrews 10:29 wams us that He may be done despite unto."

3. Personal actions are attributed to Him. He speaks: The Spirit speaketh expressly (1 Tim. 4:1); he that bath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches (Rev. 2:7). He teaches: The Holy Spirit shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say (Luke 12:12); He shall teach you all things (John 14:26). He commands or exercises authority: a striking proof of this is found in Acts 13:2, The Holy Spirit said, Separate unto me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them—how utterly misleading would such language be if the Spirit were not a real person! He intercedes: The Spirit itself maketh intercession for us (Rom. 8:26)—as the intercession of Christ proves Him to be a person, and a distinct one from the Father, unto whom He intercedes, so the intercession of the Spirit equally proves His personality, even His distinct personality.

4. Personal characters are ascribed to Him. Four times over the Lord Jesus referred to the Spirit as The Comforter, and not merely as comfort; inanimate things, such as clothes, may give us comfort, but only a living person can be a comforter. Again, He is the Witness: The Holy Spirit also is a witness to us (Heb. 10:15); The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God (Rom. 8:16)—the term is a forensic one, denoting the supplying of valid evidence or legal proof; obviously, only an intelligent agent is capable of discharging such an office. He is Justifier and Sanctifier: But ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of God (1 Cor. 6:11).

5. Personal pronouns are used about Him. The word pneuma in the Greek, like spirit in the English, is neuter, nevertheless the Holy Spirit is frequently spoken of in the masculine gender: The Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things (John 14:26)—the personal pronoun could not, without violating grammar and propriety, be applied to any other but a person. Referring again to Him, Christ said, If I depart, I will send Him unto you (John 16:7)—there is no other alternative than to regard the Holy Spirit as a Person, or to be guilty of the frightful blasphemy of affirming that the Savior employed language which could only mislead His Apostles and bring them into fearful error. I will pray the Father that he shall give another Comforter (John 14:16)—no comparison would be possible between Christ (a Person) and an abstract influence.

Borrowing the language of the revered J. Owen, we may surely say, By all these testimonies we have fully confirmed what was designed to be proved by them, namely, that the Holy Spirit is not a quality, as some speak, residing in the Divine nature; not a mere emanation of virtue and power from God; not the acting of the power of God in and unto our sanctification, but a holy, intelligent subsistent, or Person. May it please the Eternal Spirit to add His blessings to the above, apply the same to our hearts, and make His adorable Person more real and precious to each of us. Amen.

The Deity of the Holy Spirit

In the last chapter we endeavored to supply from the testimony of Holy Writ abundant and clear evidence that the Holy Spirit is a conscious, intelligent, personal Being. Our present concern is the nature and dignity of His Person. We sincerely trust that our present inquiry will not strike our readers as being a superfluous one: surely any mind which is impressed with a due reverence for the subject we are upon will readily allow that we cannot be too minute and particular in the investigation of a point of such infinite importance. While it be true that almost every passage which we brought forward to demonstrate the Spirit’s personality also contained decisive proof of His Godhead, yet we deemed the present aspect of our subject of such importance as to be justly entitled to a separate regard—the more so, as error at this point is fatal to the soul.

Deity or Not Deity

Having shown, then, that God’s Word expressly and unequivocally teaches that the Spirit is a Person, the next question to be considered is, Under what character are we to consider Him? What rank does He occupy in the scale of existence? It has been truly said that, He is either God, possessing, in a distinction of Person, an ineffable unity of the Divine nature with the Father and the Son, or He is the creature of God, infinitely removed from Him in essence and dignity, and having no other than a derivative excellence in that rank to which He is appointed in creation. There is no medium betwixt the one and the other. Nothing intermediate between the Creator and created can be admissible. So that were the Holy Spirit to be placed at the top of all creation, even as high above the highest angel as that angel transcends the lowest reptile of animated life, the chasm would be still infinite; and He, who is emphatically called the Eternal Spirit, would not be God (Robert Hawker).

We will now endeavor to show from the Word of Truth that the Holy Spirit is distinguished by such names and attributes, that He is endowed with such a plentitude of underived power, and that He is the Author of such works as to altogether transcend finite ability, and such as can belong to none but God Himself. However mysterious and inexplicable to human reason the existence of a distinction of Persons in the essence of the Godhead may be, yet if we submissively bow to the plain teachings of the Divine Oracles, then the conclusion that there subsists three Divine Persons who are co-essential, co-eternal, and co-equal is unavoidable. He of whom such works as the creation of the universe, the inspiration of the Scriptures, the formation of the humanity of Christ, the regeneration and sanctification of the elect, is, and must be, GOD; or, to use the language of 2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit.

Proofs of the Spirit’s Deity

1. The Holy Spirit is expressly called God. To Ananias Peter said, Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Spirit? and then in the very next verse, he affirms thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God (Acts 5:3, 4): if, then, lying to the Holy Spirit is lying to God, it necessarily follows that the Spirit must be God. Again, the saints are called the temple of God, and the reason proving this is that, the Spirit of God dwelleth in you (1 Cor. 3:16). In like manner, the body of the individual saint is designated, the temple of the Holy Spirit, and then the exhortation is made, therefore glorify God in your body (1 Cor. 6:19, 20). In 1 Corinthians 12, where the diversity of His gifts, administrations, and operations are mentioned, He is spoken of severally as the same Spirit (v. 4), the same Lord (v. 5), the same God (v. 6). In 2 Corinthians 6:16 the Holy Spirit is called the living God.

2. The Holy Spirit is expressly called Jehovah, a name that is utterly incommunicable to all creatures, and which can be applied to none except the Great Supreme. It was Jehovah who spoke by the mouth of all the holy Prophets from the beginning of the world (Luke 1:68, 70), yet in 2 Peter 1:20 it is implicitly declared that those Prophets all spoke by the Holy Spirit (see also 2 Sam. 23:2, 3, and compare Acts 1:16)! It was Jehovah whom Israel tempted in the wilderness, sinning against God and provoking the Most High (Ps. 78:17, 18), yet in Isaiah 63:10 this is specifically termed, rebelling against and vexing the Holy Spirit! In Deuteronomy 32:12 we read, The Lord alone did lead them, yet speaking of the same people, at the same time, Isaiah 63:14 declares, the Spirit of the Lord did lead them. It was Jehovah who bade Isaiah, Go and tell this people, hear ye indeed (6:8, 9), while the Apostle declared, well spake the Holy Spirit by Isaiah the Prophet, saying, Go unto the people and say, Hear ye indeed... (Acts 28:25, 26)! What could more plainly establish the identity of Jehovah and the Holy Spirit? Note that the Holy Spirit is called the Lord in 2 Thessalonians 3:5.

3. The perfections of God are all found in the Spirit. By what is the nature of any being determined but by its properties? He who possesses the properties peculiar to an angel or man is rightly esteemed one. So He who possesses the attributes or properties which belong alone to God, must be considered and worshipped as God. The Scriptures very clearly and abundantly affirm that the Holy Spirit is possessed of the attributes peculiar to God. They ascribe to Him absolute holiness. As God is called Holy, the Holy One, being therein described by that superlatively excellent property of His nature wherein He is glorious in holiness (Ex. 15:1 1); so is the Third Person of the Trinity designated the Spirit of Holiness (Rom. 1:4) to denote the holiness of His nature and the Deity of His Person. The Spirit is eternal (Heb. 9:14). He is omnipresent: Whither shall I flee from thy Spirit? (Ps. 139:7). He is omniscient (see 1 Cor. 2:10, 11). He is omnipotent: being termed the Power of the Highest (Luke 1:35; see also Micah 2:8, and compare Isa. 40:28).

4. The absolute sovereignty and supremacy of the Spirit manifest His Godhead. In Matthew 4:1 we are told, Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness: who but a Divine Person had the right to direct the Mediator? and to whom but God would the Redeemer have submitted! In John 3:8 the Lord Jesus drew an analogy between the wind which bloweth where it listeth (not being at the disposal or direction of any creature), and the imperial operations of the Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 12:11 it is expressly affirmed that the Holy Spirit has the distribution of all spiritual gifts, having nothing but His own pleasure for His rule. He must, then, be God over all, blessed forever. In Acts 13:2-4 we find the Holy Spirit calling men unto the work of the ministry, which is solely a Divine prerogative, though wicked men have abrogated it unto themselves. In these verses it will be found that the Spirit appointed their work, commanded them to be set apart by the church, and sent them forth. In Acts 20:28 it is plainly declared that the Holy Spirit set officers over the church.

5. The works ascribed to the Spirit clearly demonstrate His Godhead. Creation itself is attributed to Him, no less than to the Father and the Son: By the Spirit lie hath garnished the heavens (Job 26: 13): the Spirit of God hath made me (Job 33:4). He is concerned in the work of providence (Isa. 40:13-15; Acts 16:6, 7). All Scripture is given by inspiration of God (2 Tim. 3:16), the source of which is the Spirit Himself (2 Peter 1:21). The humanity of Christ was miraculously formed by the Spirit (Matthew 1:20). Christ was anointed for His work by the Spirit (Isa. 61:1; John 3:34). His miracles were performed by the Spirit’s power (Matthew 12:3 8). He was raised from the dead by the Spirit (Rom. 8:11). Who but a Divine person could have wrought such works as these!?

Reader, do you have a personal and inward proof that the Holy Spirit is none other than God? Has He wrought in you that which no finite power could? Has He brought you from death unto life, made you a new creature in Christ, imparted to you a living faith, filled you with holy longings after God? Does He breathe into you the spirit of prayer, take of the things of Christ and show them unto you, apply to your heart both the precepts and promises of God? If so, then, these are so many witnesses in your own bosom of the deity of the Blessed Spirit.

The Titles of the Holy Spirit

Correct views of the Divine character lie at the foundation of all genuine and vital godliness. It should, then, be one of our chief quests to seek after the knowledge of God. Without the true knowledge of God, in His nature and attributes, we can neither worship Him acceptably nor serve Him aright.

Names Describe Character

Now the three Persons in the Godhead have graciously revealed Themselves through a variety of names and titles. The Nature of God we are utterly incapable of comprehending, but His person and character may be known. Each name or title that God has appropriated unto Himself is that whereby He reveals Himself unto us, and whereby He would have us know and own Him. Therefore whatever any name of God expresses Him to be, that He is, for He will not deceive us by giving Himself a wrong or false name. On this account He requires us to trust in His Name, because He will assuredly be found unto us all that His Name imports.

The names of God, then, are for the purpose of expressing Him unto us; they set forth His perfections and make known the different relations which He sustains unto the children of men and unto His own favored people. Names are given for this intent, that they might declare what the thing is to which the name belongs. Thus, when God created Adam and gave him dominion over this visible world, He caused the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air to pass before him, that they might receive names from him (Gen. 2:19). In like manner, we may learn of what God is through the names and titles He has taken. By means of them, God spells out Himself to us, sometimes by one of His perfections, sometimes by another. A very wide field of study is here introduced to us, yet we can now say no more than that the prayerful and diligent searcher will find it a highly profitable one to investigate.

What has been said above serves to indicate the importance of the present aspect of our subject. What the Holy Spirit is in His Divine Person and ineffable character is made known unto us by means of the many names and varied titles which are accorded to Him in Holy Writ. A whole volume, rather than a brief chapter, might well be devoted to their contemplation. May we be Divinely guided in using the limited space which is now at our disposal in writing that which will both magnify the Third Person in the blessed Trinity, and serve as a stimulus unto our readers to give more careful study and holy meditation to those titles of His which we cannot here consider. Possibly, we can help our friends most by devoting our attention to those which are more difficult to apprehend.

Concurrence in the Trinity

The Holy Spirit is designated by a great many names and titles in Scripture which clearly evince both His personality and Deity. Some of these are peculiar to Himself, others He has in common with the Father and the Son, in the undivided essence of the Divine nature. While in the wondrous scheme of redemption the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are revealed unto us under distinct characters, by which we are taught to ascribe certain operations to one more immediately than to another, yet the agency of each is not to be considered as so detached but that They cooperate and concur. For this reason the Third Person of the Trinity is called the Spirit of the Father (John 14:26) and the Spirit of the Son (Gal. 4:6), because, acting in conjunction with the Father and the Son, the operations of the one are in effect the operations of the others—and altogether result from the indivisible essence of the Godhead.

Titles Used in Scripture

First, He is designated The Spirit, which expresses two things. First, His Divine nature, for God is Spirit (John 4:24); as the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Episcopal Church well express it, without body, parts, or passions. He is essentially pure, incorporeal Spirit, as distinct from any material or visible substance. Second, it expresses His mode of operation on the hearts of the people of God, which is compared in Scripture to a breath, or the movement of the wind—both of which adumbrate Him in this lower world; suitably so, inasmuch as they are invisible, and yet vitalizing elements. Come from the four winds, 0 Breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live (Ezek. 37:9). Therefore was it that in His public descent on the day of Pentecost, suddenly there came a sound from Heaven of a rushing, mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting (Acts 2:2).

Second, He is called by way of eminency The Holy Spirit which is His most usual appellation in the New Testament. Two things are included. First, respect is had unto His nature. As Jehovah is distinguished from all false gods thus, Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods; who is like thee, glorious in holiness (Ex. 15:11); so is the Spirit called Holy to denote the holiness of His nature. This appears plainly in Mark 3:29, 30, He that shall blaspheme against the Holy Spirit hath never forgiveness; because they said, he hath an unclean spirit—thus opposition is made between His immaculate nature and that of the unclean or unholy spirit. Observe, too, how this verse also furnishes clear proof of His personality, for the unclean spirit is a person, and if the Spirit were not a Person, no comparative opposition could be made between them. So also we see here His absolute Deity, for only God could be blasphemed! Second, this title views His operations and that in respect of all His works, for every work of God is holy—in hardening and blinding, equally as in regenerating and sanctifying.

Third, He is called God’s good Spirit (Neh. 9:20). Thy Spirit is good (Ps. 143:10). He is so designated principally from His nature, which is essentially good for there is none good but one, that is God (Matthew 19:17); so also from His operations, for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, and righteousness, and truth (Eph. 5:9).

Fourth, He is called the free Spirit (Ps. 5 1:12), so designated because He is a most munificent Giver, bestowing His favors severally as He pleases, literally, and upbraiding not; also because it is His special work to deliver God’s elect from the bondage of sin and Satan, and bring them into the glorious liberty of God’s children.

Fifth, He is called the Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9) because sent by Him (Acts 2:33), and as furthering His cause on earth (John 16:14).

Sixth, He is called the Spirit of the Lord (Acts 8:29) because He possesses Divine authority and requires unhesitating submission from us.

Seventh, He is called, the Eternal Spirit (Heb. 9:14). Among the names and titles by which the Holy Spirit is known in Scripture, that of ‘the eternal Spirit’ is His peculiar appellation—a name, which in the very first face of things, accurately defines His nature, and carries with it the most convincing proof of Godhead. None but ‘the High and Holy One, inhabiteth eternity,’ can be called eternal. Of other beings, who possess a derivative immortality, it may be said that as they are created for eternity, they may enjoy, through the benignity of their Creator, a future eternal duration. But this differs as widely as the east is from the west, when applied to Him of whom we are speaking. He alone, who possesses an underived, independent, and necessary self-existence, ‘who was, and is, and is to come,’ can be said, in exclusion of all other beings, to be eternal (Robert Hawker).

Eighth, He is called the Paraclete or the Comforter (John 14:16) than which no better translation can be given, providing the English meaning of the word be kept in mind. Comforter means more than Consoler. It is derived from two Latin words, corn along side of and fortis strength. Thus a comforter is one who stands alongside of one in need, to strengthen. When Christ said He would ask the Father to give His people another Comforter, He signified that the Spirit would take His own place, doing for the disciples, what He had done for them while He was with them on earth. The Spirit strengthens in a variety of ways: consoling when cast down, giving grace when weak or timid, guiding when perplexed.

We close this subject with a few words from the pen of the late J. C. Philpot (1863), Nor let anyone think that this doctrine of the distinct Personality of the Holy Spirit is a mere strife of words, or unimportant matter, or an unprofitable discussion, which we may take or leave, believe or deny, without any injury to our faith or hope. On the contrary, let this be firmly impressed on your mind, that if you deny or disbelieve the Personality of the blessed Spirit, you deny and disbelieve with it the grand foundation truth of the Trinity. If your doctrine be unsound, your experience must be a delusion, and your practice an imposition.

The Covenant-Offices of the Holy Spirit

The ground which we are now to tread, will, we fear, be new and strange to most of our readers. In the January and February 1930 issues of Studies in the Scriptures, we wrote two rather lengthy articles upon The Everlasting Covenant. There we dwelt principally upon it in connection with the Father and the Son; here we shall contemplate the relation of the Holy Spirit unto the same. His covenant-offices are intimately connected with and indeed flow from His Deity and Personality, for if He had not been a Divine Person in the Godhead, He would not and could not have taken a part in the Covenant of Grace. Before proceeding further, let us define our terms.

Definitions

By the Covenant of Grace, we refer to that holy and solemn compact entered into between the august Persons of the Trinity on behalf of the elect, before the foundation of the world. By the word offices we understand the whole of that part of this sacred compact which the Holy Spirit undertook to perform. Lest some should suppose that the application of such a term to the Third Person of the Godhead be derogatory to His ineffable majesty, let us point out that it by no means implies subordination or inferiority. It signifies literally a particular charge, trust, duty, or employment, conferred for some public or beneficial end. Hence we read of the priest’s office (Ex. 28:1; Luke 1:8), the apostolic office (Rom. 11:13), etc.

There is then no impropriety in using the word office to express the several parts which the Son and the blessed Spirit undertook in the Covenant of Grace. As Persons in the Trinity they were equal; as covenanting Parties they were equal; and as They in infinite condescension, undertook to communicate to the church unutterable favors and blessings, Their kind offices, so graciously and voluntarily entered into, neither destroy nor diminish that original equality in which They from all eternity subsisted in the perfection and glory of the Divine Essence. As Christ’s assumption of the office of Servant in no way tarnished or canceled His equality as the Son, so the Spirit’s free undertaking the office of applying the benefits of the Everlasting Covenant (Covenant of Grace) to its beneficiaries in no way detracts from His essential and personal honor and glory.

The word office, then, as applied to the covenant-work of the Holy Spirit, denotes that which He graciously undertook to perform by way of stipulated engagement and sets forth, under one comprehensive term, the whole of His blessed pledging and performances on behalf of the election of grace. To an enlightened understanding and a believing heart, there is in the Covenant itself—in the fact of it, and the provisions of it—something singularly marvelous and precious. That there should have been a Covenant at all—that the three Persons in the Godhead should have deigned to enter into a solemn compact on behalf of a section of the fallen, ruined, and guilty race of mankind should fill our minds with holy wonderment and adoration. How firm a foundation was thus laid for the salvation of the church. No room was allowed for contingencies, no place left for uncertainties; her being and well-being was forever secured by unalterable compact and eternal decree.

The Spirit’s Covenant-Office: Sanctification

Now the office-work of the Holy Spirit in connection with this everlasting Covenant, ordered in all things and sure (2 Sam. 23:5), may be summed up in a single word, sanctification. The Third Person of the Holy Trinity agreed to sanctify, the objects of the Father’s eternal choice, and of the Son’s redemptive satisfaction. The Spirit’s work of sanctification was just as needful, yea, as indispensable for the church’s salvation, as was the obedience and blood-shedding of Christ. Adam’s fall plunged the church into immeasurable depths of woe and wretchedness. The image of God in which her members had been created was defaced. Sin, like a loathsome leprosy, infected them to the very heart’s core. Spiritual death spread itself with fatal effect over her every faculty. But the gracious Holy Spirit pledged Himself to sanctify such wretches, and frame and fit them to be partakers of holiness, and live forever in God’s spotless presence.

Without the Spirit’s sanctification the redemption of Christ would avail no man. True, a perfect atonement was made by Him and a perfect righteousness brought in, and so the persons of the elect are legally reconciled to God. But Jehovah is holy as well as just, and the employments and enjoyment of His dwelling-place are holy too. Holy angels there minister whose unceasing cry is, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts (Isa. 6:3). How then could unholy, unregenerated, unsanctified sinners dwell in that ineffable place into which there shall in no way enter anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie (Rev. 21:27)? But O the wonder of covenant grace and covenant love! The vilest of sinners, the worst of wretches, the basest of mortals, can and will enter through the gates into the Holy City: And such were some of you, but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God (1 Cor. 6:11).

From what has been said in the last paragraph it should be clear that sanctification is as indispensable as justification. Now there are many phases presented in Scripture of this important Truth of sanctification, into which we cannot here enter. Suffice it to say that aspect of it which is now before us is the blessed work of the Spirit upon the soul, whereby He internally makes the saints meet for their inheritance in the light (Col. 1:12): without this miracle of grace none can enter Heaven. That which is born of the flesh is flesh (1 John 3:6): no matter how it be educated and refined, no matter how disguised by religious ornamentation, it remains still flesh. It is like everything else which earth produces: no manipulation of art can change the original nature of the raw material.

No process of manufacture can transmute cotton into wool, or flax into silk: draw, twist, spin or weave, bleach and surface all we may, its nature remains the same. So men-made preachers and the whole corps of creature religionists may toil night and day to change flesh into spirit, they may work from the cradle to the grave to fit people for Heaven, but after all their labors to wash the Ethiopian white and to rub the spots out of the leopard, flesh is flesh still and cannot by any possibility enter the kingdom of God. Nothing but the supernatural operations of the Holy Spirit will avail. Not only is man polluted to the very core by sin original and actual, but there is in him an absolute incapability to understand, embrace or enjoy spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14).

The imperative necessity, then, of the Spirit’s work of sanctification lies not only in the sinfulness of man, but in the state of spiritual death whereby he is as unable to live, breathe, and act Godward as the corpse in the graveyard is unable to leave the silent tomb and move among the busy haunts of men. We indeed know little of the Word of God and little of our own hearts if we need proof of a fact which meets us at every turn; the vileness of our nature and the thorough deathliness of our carnal heart are so daily and hourly forced upon us that they are a such a matter of painful consciousness to the Christian, as if we should see the sickening sight of a slaughterhouse, or smell the death taint of a corpse.

Suppose a man is born blind: he has a natural incapacity of sight. No arguments, biddings, threats, or promises can make him see. But let the miracle be wrought: let the Lord touch the eyes with His Divine hand; he sees at once. Though he cannot explain how or why, he can say to all objectors, One thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see (John 9:25). And thus it is in the Spirit’s work of sanctification, begun at regeneration, when a new life is given, a new capacity imparted, a new desire awakened. It is carried forward in his daily renewing (2 Cor. 4:16) and is completed at glorification. What we would specially emphasize is that whether the Spirit is convicting us, working repentance in us, breathing upon us the spirit of prayer, or taking of the things of Christ and showing them unto our joyful hearts, He is discharging His covenant-offices. May we render unto Him the praise and worship which is His due.

For most of the above we are indebted to some articles by the late J. C. Philpot.

The Holy Spirit During the Old Testament Ages

Much ignorance prevails today concerning this aspect of our subject. The crudest ideas are now entertained as to the relation between the Third Person of the Godhead and the Old Testament saints. Yet this is scarcely to be wondered at in view of the fearful confusion which obtains respecting their salvation, many supposing that they were saved in an entirely different way from what we are now. Nor need we be surprised at that, for this, in turn, is only another of the evil effects produced by the misguided efforts of those who have been so eager to draw as many contrasts as possible between the present dispensation and those which preceded it, to the disparaging of the earlier members of God’s family. The Old Testament saints had far more in common with the New Testament saints than is generally supposed.

A verse which has been grossly perverted by many of our moderns is John 7:39, The Holy Spirit was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified. It seems passing strange that with the Old Testament in their hands, some men should place the construction which they do upon those words. The words was not yet given can no more be understood absolutely than Enoch was not (Gen. 5:24); they simply mean that the Spirit had not yet been given in His full administrative authority. He was not yet publicly manifested here on earth. All believers, in every age, had been sanctified and comforted by Him, but the ministration of the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:8) was not at that time fully introduced; the outpouring of the Spirit, in the plentitude of His miraculous gifts, had not then taken place.

In Relation to Creation

Let us first consider, though very briefly, the work of the Spirit in connection with the old or material creation. Before the worlds were framed by the Word of God, and things which are seen were made out of things which do not appear (Heb. 11:3), when the whole mass of inanimate matter lay in one undistinguished chaos, without form and void, we are told that, the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters (Gen. 1:2). There are other passages which ascribe the work of creation (in common with the Father and the Son), to His immediate agency. For example, we are told, by His Spirit He hath garnished the heavens (Job 26:13). Job was moved to confess, The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life (33:4). Thou sendest forth Thy Spirit, they are created: and Thou renewest the face of the earth (Ps. 104:30).

In Relation to Adam

Let us next contemplate the Holy Spirit in relation to Adam. As so much darkness now surrounds this subject, we must enter into it in greater detail. "Three things were required to render man fit unto that life to God for which he was made. First, an ability to discern the mind and wisdom of God with respect unto all the duty and obedience that God requires of him; as also for to know the nature and properties of God, as to believe Him the only proper object of all acts and duties of religious obedience, and an all-sufficient satisfaction and reward in this world, and to eternity. Secondly, a free, uncontrolled, unentangled, disposition to every duty of the law of his creation for living unto God. Thirdly, an ability of mind and will, with a readiness of compliance in his affections, for a regular performance of all duties and abstinence from all sin. These things belonged unto the integrity of his nature, with the uprightness of the state and condition wherein he was made. And all these things were the peculiar effects of the immediate operation of the Holy Spirit.

Thus Adam may be said to have had the Spirit of God in his innocence. He had Him in these peculiar effects of His power and goodness, and he had Him according to the tenor of that covenant, whereby it was possible that he should utterly lose Him, as accordingly it came to pass. He had Him not by especial inhabitation, for the whole world was then the temple of God. In the Covenant of Grace, founded in the Person and on the mediation of Christ, it is otherwise. On whomsoever the Spirit of God is bestowed for the renovation of the image of God in him, He abides with him forever (J. Owen, 1680).

The three things mentioned above by that eminent Puritan constituted the principal part of that image of God wherein man was created by the Spirit. Proof of this is seen in the fact that at regeneration the Holy Spirit restores those abilities in the souls of God’s elect: And hath put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge, after the image of Him that created him (Col. 3:10): that is, the spiritual knowledge which man lost at the Fall is, potentially, restored at the new birth; but it could not be restored or renewed if man had never possessed it!

The knowledge with which the Holy Spirit endowed Adam was great indeed. Clear exemplification of this is seen in Genesis 2:19. Still, more conclusive evidence is found in Genesis 2:21-23: God put Adam into a deep sleep, took a rib out of his side, formed it into a woman, and then set her before him. On sight of her Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. He knew who she was and her origin, and forthwith gave her a suitable name; and he could only have known all this by the Spirit of revelation and understanding.

That Adam was, originally, made a partaker of the Holy Spirit is quite evident to the writer from Genesis 2:7, The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. If those words were interpreted in the light of the Analogy of Faith, they can mean nothing less than that the Triune God imparted the Holy Spirit unto the first man. In Ezekiel 37 we have a vivid parabolic picture of the regenerating of spiritual Israel. There we are told, Prophesy unto the Wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the Wind, Thus saith the LORD God, Come from the four winds, O Breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the Breath came unto them, and they lived (vv. 9, 10). Again, we find the Savior, after His resurrection, Breathed on them (the Apostles), and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit (John 20:22): that was the counterpart of Genesis 2:7: the one the original gift, the other the restoration of what was lost.

Rightly has it been said that The doctrine that man was originally, though mutably, replenished with the Spirit, may be termed the deep fundamental thought of the Scripture doctrine of man. If the first and second Adam are so related that the first man was the analogue or figure of the second, as all admit on the authority of Scripture (Rom. 5:12-14), it is clear that, unless the first man possessed the Spirit, the last man, the Healer or Restorer of the forfeited inheritance, would not have been the medium of giving the Spirit, who was withdrawn on account of sin, and who could be restored only on account of the everlasting righteousness which Christ (Rom. 8:10) brought in (G. Smeaton, 1880).

In Relation to the Nation Israel

Let us next observe the relation of the Holy Spirit unto the nation of Israel. A very striking and comprehensive statement was made by Nehemiah, when he reviewed the Lord’s dealings with His people of old: Thou gavest also Thy good Spirit to instruct them (Neh. 8:20). He was, until quenched, upon the members of the Sanhedrin (Num. 11:16, 17). He came upon the judges (Judges 3:10; 6:34; 11:29; 15:14), upon the kings (1 Sam. 11:6; 16:13), and the Prophets. But note it is a great mistake to say, as many have done, that the Holy Spirit was never in any believer before Pentecost: Numbers 27:18, Nehemiah 9:30, 1 Peter 1:11 clearly prove otherwise. But alas, Israel rebelled and vexed his Holy Spirit (Isa. 63:10), as Stephen declared, Ye do always resist the Holy Spirit: as your fathers did, so do ye (Acts 7:51).

That the Holy Spirit indwelt saints under the Legal economy is clear from many considerations: how otherwise could they have been regenerated, had faith, been enabled to perform works acceptable to God? The Spirit prompted true prayer, inspired spiritual worship, produced His fruit in the lives of believers then (see Zech. 4:6) as much as He does now. We have the same Spirit of faith (2 Cor. 4:13) as they had. All the spiritual good which has ever been wrought in and through men must be ascribed unto the Holy Spirit. The Spirit was given to the Old Testament saints prospectively, as pardon of sin was given in view of the satisfaction which Christ was to render unto God.

The Holy Spirit and Christ

We are afraid that our treatment of the particular aspect of this many-sided theme which is now before us is rather too abstruse for some of our readers to follow, yet we trust they will kindly bear with us as we endeavor to write for those who are anxious for help on the deeper things of God.

The Deeper Things of God

As stated before, we are seeking to minister unto widely different classes, unto those with differing capacities, and therefore we wish to provide a varied spiritual menu. He who is hungry will not leave the table in disgust because one dish thereon appeals not to him. We ask their forbearance while we seek to give something like completeness to our exposition of the subject as a whole.

"As the humanity of Christ was assumed into the Hypostatic union, we may fitly say, on the one hand, that the Person of Christ was anointed, so far as the call to office was concerned; while we bear in mind, on the other hand, that it is the humanity that is anointed in as far as we contemplate the actual supplies of God’s gifts and graces, aids and endowments, necessary to the execution of His office. But that we may not be engulfed in onesidedness, it must be also added that the Holy Spirit, according to the order of the Trinity, interposes His power only to execute the will of the Son

as to the unction of the Lord Jesus by the Spirit, it was different according to the three grades successively imparted. The first grade was at the incarnation; the second coincided with His baptism, the third and highest grade was at the ascension, when He sat down on His mediatorial throne, and received from the Father the gift of the Spirit to bestow upon His Church in abundant measure" (G. Smeaton).

The Spirit in the Incarnation and Baptism of Christ

We have already contemplated the first anointing of the Lord Jesus when, in His mother’s womb, His humanity was endowed with all spiritual graces, and when through childhood and up to the age of 30 He was illuminated, guided, and preserved by the immediate operations of the Third Person in the Godhead. We come now to briefly consider His second anointing, when He was formally consecrated unto His public mission and Divinely endowed for His official work. This took place at the River Jordan, when He was baptized by His forerunner. Then it was, while emerging from the waters, that the heavens were opened, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove, and the voice of the Father was heard testifying unto His infinite pleasure in His incarnate Son (Matthew 3:16, 17). All the references to that unique transaction call for close examination and prayerful study.

The first thing that is recorded after this is, And Jesus being full of the Holy Spirit, returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness (Luke 4:14). The reason why we are told this seems to be for the purpose of showing us that Christ’s humanity was confirmed by the Spirit and made victorious over the devil by His power. Hence it is